Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Job Hopping: Does It Really Pay?

We barely get to hear of a person who started his career with an organization many years back, dedicated his entire career growing with the organization and finally retired from the same organization. As it is said, nothing lasts forever; same is the case with jobs these days. Jobs today do not last unlike previous generations. In the past few years job-hopping has become so widespread across the industries that even a four year stretch in the same organization is considered to be a stable job. Three jobs in less than a year, no longer raise eyebrows and gaps mouths. Job hopping, in fact, has become the new mantra for success. People no longer believe in sticking to one job and waiting for that golden leap to come. But is job hopping for career advancement a mere illusion or does it really pay?
The trend of hopping jobs is prevalent in IT- ITeS sector most. However, other sectors like retail, banking and hospitality are also witnessing the same trend. Not only are freshers changing jobs frequently, but senior professionals are also increasingly falling in the trap of job hopping. Willingly, senior professionals with excellent credentials are changing jobs more frequently than ever before.

Some of the common reasons for hoping jobs as quoted by job hoppers include dissatisfaction with the job, lack of challenging work, stagnation or less pay. A survey revealed that 24 per cent of the graduates from premier B-schools like IIMs, XLRI and Narsee Monjee quit their first jobs within 12 months of being hired. The eye-popping fat salaries appear to be one of the main reasons for their resignations. Job hopping also acts as a shortcut to success. Employees make their way to higher levels in the management hierarchy as each job change brings with it a hike in pay and position. Moreover, sticking to the same organization from which you started off your career is passé now. It is believed that those who hang on to the same job are taken for granted and declared not competent enough to move ahead in their career.

The consequences of frequent job change are many, but the most affected area is loyalty with the organization. The word loyalty has become old fashioned and is no more considered a success mantra. Loyalty, which once has been considered a fundamental value in an Indian organization seems to be losing its relevance. People, especially younger generation, are highly career conscious. They don't mind changing jobs too often if it helps them earn more and grow faster. They are ready to shift their loyalties for an extra buck, an additional perk or any other monetary consideration.
Grass is not always green on the other side.
No doubt job hopping has become the latest trend today, or a shortcut to success; one can not jump from one job to another as and when it strikes one’s imagination. Moreover, though two or more jobs on a resume no longer are an employment risk, too many jobs in less than two years time portray one as a chronic job hopper. A series of rapid, random and pointless moves will show up as annoyances on the resume. Employers view such contenders as dysfunctional - lacking in loyalty, trust and self-motivation. Quick moves from one job to other raise big questions for prospective employers as to one's staying power and ability to withstand challenges, as well as accept accountability. Employer may feel that you are not committed to a particular organization. The future employers, who are probably looking for a long term employee, might not be impressed with the job hopping tendencies. They might perceive that one has become a job hopper may be because of inability to get along with colleagues or employers. It does not even leave substantial time to acquire sufficient experience and hands-on skills. What’s more is that after innumerable hops, one may find himself at the same place where he first started.
Is it really that bad?
As Dr. Gopalkrishnan, Chairman, TATA Sons., has said, after a long stint, there always comes a time for moving in most organizations, but it is important to move for the right reasons, rather than superficial ones, like money, designation or an overseas trip. Job hopping today is considered an important part of career development. But, there is a big dilemma about where to draw the line, i.e. how long is too long or how short is too short? Also, how long can the hop last? Career experts opine that staying around for 2-4 years is ideal. Also, every job move deserves careful consideration and planning. While monetary increase is often a valid reason to change jobs, one should realize that work environment, long term career prospects, colleagues and company culture are equally important factors in determining an ideal job. It should be a mature decision carefully charted out after properly weighing varied factors like current job satisfaction, challenges, career development, company image, benefits and growth prospects. One should consider the suitability of whole package rather than being blindfolded with short term benefits.

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